WHISTLER (NEWS 1130) — BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau says if her party is elected, it will help businesses pay their rent and provide further support to the tourism sector.
Speaking in Whistler, Furstenau says the Greens promise to dedicate $300 million to create a six-month rent subsidy program for small businesses. Those with less than $50,000 in monthly rent costs would get a 25 per cent subsidy, she adds.
The Greens also promise to retool and expedite the provincial grant program to help small tourism operators.
“We are nine months into the pandemic and many businesses are stretched to their limits,” Furstenau says.
“Over the past week, we’ve been hearing from businesses that the support that the government has promised is delayed due to the snap and unnecessary election,” she adds.
“The NDP doesn’t seem to understand the urgency facing the small business and tourism sectors in our province.”
Furstenau says the federal wage subsidy has done a successful job, but the same cannot be said of the Canada rent assistance program.
“That program had a flawed design and limited uptake with confusing application criteria and a requirement for landlords to apply less than a third of what the federal government budgeted was spent.”
With the rental assistance program expiring this month, one is needed to help businesses in B.C., she says.
Furstenau says the Greens’ plan would get support to businesses who need it faster.
“This will provide them with much-needed certainty to get them through the winter as we look towards our full COVID-19 recovery.”
The party also plans to create a separate grant for not-for-profit tourism businesses, cultural facilities, and attractions to help them through the pandemic.
— BC Green Party (@BCGreens) October 7, 2020
Furstenau says the Greens would further work with the federal government to establish a repayable loan program for the hospitality sector and tourism operators.
Furstenau adds tourism operators, in particular, have been hit hard by the pandemic, and will be among the last to recover due to travel restrictions and border closures.
“We need to act urgently to support our tourism sector.”
Earlier in the day, the BC NDP pledged to launch a 10-year cancer action plan if re-elected in this month’s provincial election.
BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson promised to make cities safer by investing in integrated police and mental health teams.